“Split” is the new psychological thriller from director/producer M. Night Shyamalan, starring James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy. It focuses on a man named Kevin who’s DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) leads him to kidnap three teenage girls for an unspecified reason.
The story follows Casey, who is the outcast of her social group, and centers on unraveling her past. Discovering Casey’s past as well as meeting the 23 identities that live inside Kevin take the viewer through a wild ride throughout the movie.
“Split” is a wonderful example of what a psychological thriller should be in that it isn’t over the top and in your face. As the girls are being held by Kevin there is a feeling of suspense and uncertainty but there is never really a feeling of being scared.
The movie doesn’t rely very heavily on jump scares and focuses more on the mystery of Kevin’s disorder and the competition that arises between them.
James McAvoy portrays the main antagonist, Kevin. This role truly highlights McAvoy’s acting ability as he is easily able to switch between the identities making them entirely distinct. There were only a few instances where it’s difficult to tell the identity that McAvoy is portraying.
However, the facial expressions, and the distinct accents as well as the mannerisms used by McAvoy are a true testament to the man’s ability to learn a character inside and out and bring them to life on the big screen. Anya Taylor-Joy, who plays the cunning and intelligent Casey Cook, is also an amazingly talented actress. She plays her part very well and helps to enhance the suspense throughout the film.
Overall the film is very similar to Shyamalan’s previous work, although this one takes the classic kidnapping themed movie in a new direction. Having one actor play eight different characters is an interesting area to explore. Although “The Visit” was hailed as Shyamalan’s comeback, it would seem as though “Split” is very well received and snagged number 1 at the box office on opening weekend.
It remains to be seen if it will go down in history as one of Shyamalan’s quintessential works (such as “Signs”), however less it is most definitely a movie that is absolutely worth seeing.
At best it could become a new favorite of psychological thriller junkies, and at worst it’s a cautionary tale about locking the car doors.